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  • Writer's pictureKurtis Tatkenhorst

May 12- Kawhi Leonard's Iconic Shot at the Buzzer

2019- On this day in Sports History, Kawhi Leonard hit an iconic shot at the buzzer in Game 7 to send the Toronto Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals. Leonard’s shot knocked off the Philadelphia 76er’s 92-90 to give the Raptors a 4-3 series win as they would go on to win the 2019 NBA Championship. Kawhi Leonard’s shot that bounced around the rim before falling in is one of the best moments in NBA history.

With the series tied 3-3 in a winner take all Game 7, the Raptors were up 2 with 10.8 seconds left when Kawhi Leonard missed the second free throw and Tobias Harris of the 76ers got the rebound. He then passes it to Jimmy Butler who raced up the floor to score a layup to tie the game 90-90 with 4.2 seconds left. The Raptors called time out to advance the ball. They just need a basket to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Raptors inbound the ball to Leonard at the top of the key. He then dribbles around the arc to the right corner where he releases a high arching shot just inside the three point line over Joel Embiid’s 7’6” wingspan right before the buzzer. The ball hits the rim and bounces straight up in the air before bouncing around the rim some more and dropping in, giving the Raptors a 92-90 win.

Kawhi Leonard finished the game with 41 points. Pascal Siakam added 11 points while Kyle Lowry had 10 points and 6 assists. Joel Embiid led the 76er’s with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

The 2019 Toronto Raptors finished the regular season with a 58-24 record which gave them the 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They knocked off the Orlando Magic in the first round and Leonard’s heroics in the Conference Semifinals sent them into the Eastern Conference Finals. There they faced the Milwaukee Bucks and 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. A 4-2 series win over the Bucks would then send them to their first ever NBA Finals to face the two-time reigning champions in the Golden State Warriors. The Raptors would also beat the Warriors 4-2 in the series to give them their first NBA Championship as Kawhi Leonard was named NBA Finals MVP.

While Kawhi Leonard’s performance in the Finals was great, his shot on this day in 2019 to send them to the Eastern Conference Finals is a shot that will go down in history.

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“Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors Box Score, May 12, 2019.” Basketball Reference

NBA, director. Kawhi Leonard's Incredible Shot Caps Off WILD Ending! | May 12, 2019. YouTube, YouTube, 12 May 2019

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